Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Seriously I am... the ACSM recommends that we should as part of our daily fitness and overall wellness engage in stretching - up to two times a day for some of us depending on the overall tightness. So I'm going to give you guys your recommendation in a yoga modified format. Why? Well these can be combined together and with breathing provides you with a good wake up or wind down routine. The numbers correlate the the ACSM's list numbers if anyone wants to check up on me.

2. Calve/6. Downward Dog - well wait a moment that's a yoga position - that it is. Now prior to downward dog - since you should not just throw yourself into it. Cat stretches are a good lower back stretch and allow you to work towards completing 1 - and warming up your body.

Cat stretches - get on all fours with hands below your body - in line with your shoulders, and knees hip with apart - this is your hip bone, not your fleshy hips. Inhale through your nose, let your pelvis lower, and your head/upper body raise. Exhale, through the nose again, contracting your throat so that there is an audible noise. Curl yourself under, by arching your back/lifting your pelvis and lowering your head - if you can turn your gaze to your belly button, repeat 10 times.

From this position, you can move your hands forward and dig your toes into the mat, and lift your behind. Make sure your arms and legs are aligned within the body frame as above, fingers and toes receive equal pressure, bend knees push/lift behind up and then straighten legs - not locked. Advanced - heels touch the ground, and gaze is up at the belly button again. If your heels don't touch, then rock gently - in that one leg bends while the other heel moves closer to the ground, switch sides, then return to downward dog, traditional. Once held for 5 breaths - that's a full inhale and exhale. Step your legs forward, or in advanced jump through. Hold yourself in the forward bend position, lifting yourself slowly. Forward bend - hamstrings - feet should be hip width apart, and inhale then on the exhale lower your torso - the whole thing, and fold forward, do not lock your knees, hold gently to your ankles or toes - to hold on to your toes, curl your index and middle finger under the big toes and place your thumb on top.

From downward dog
4. Quad - You can stretch your hips and quad in one go, bring one leg forward bending it at the knee and bringing it across and your lower your body - in the end your should have one leg knee out with foot across in front of you and the other straight behind you. Watch the alignment of the straight leg foot. Inhale, then exhale, lean forward, now depending on the tightness, you can stop there or you can in full pose have your arms out flat in front of you on the ground. Once held for 5 breaths, lift yourself up, and place the hand on the side with the bent leg on the ground, and then take the heel of the straight leg in your other hand - you may need a strap for this one depending on your flexibility.

The rest of the stretches can be done on the ground.

3. Groin - First in staff - which is legs out in front of you sitting up on your sit bones, then pull your feet towards you, bring the bottoms together - the closer you can get the better - hands on the feet. Advanced variations - forward bend, with hands over or under legs, or if you so desire - with a bolster behind you lengthwise lean back letting your arms rest at your sides - this can be furthered without the bolster and your arms above your head, with your index and thumb around your right wrist forming an eight with your body.

5. Spinal - simplest is to sit cross legged - or lotus if so inclined - and place on hand across your body on the opposite knee the other hand on the ground to the side and back of you and inhale then exhale and turn your torso - not your head, watching your shoulders - don't lift them.

7. Upper body - options abound - but one good shoulder one, is back in cat pose - thread the needle as it is said - place one arm through the space behind the other. Your shoulder lowers to the ground, rest your head down. You'll feel a stretch across your back.

8. Standing side - Hand to heart (?) is a good option, or a modification of warrior - this one I've posted a picture for.

Check out Yogeek - not only is this where the picture is from she shows the Asana's and variations for those interested

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